The study area comprises over 10,000 hectares of mixed landscape in the former hundred of Ewelme. The hundred’s 14 parishes included dispersed settlements and early enclosed wood-pasture landscapes as well as nucleated villages and large open fields. The area has an exceptionally rich collection of documents and early estate maps, a substantial set of vernacular buildings, and strong archaeological potential. Amongst the key sources for the study are the thousands of early field-names and peasant bynames which, when plotted and analysed thematically, yield valuable insights into the interaction between the material environment and social relationships.
The project started in 2011 as a pilot study organised jointly by VCH Oxfordshire and the University of Oxford, and funded by the John Fell Fund. Under the leadership of Dr Stephen Mileson, and thanks to Leverhulme funding, it was expanded to a three-year programme of research which ran until September 2015. The project research is now finished and the team is completing the main output, a substantial and richly illustrated monograph, provisionally entitledMedieval Perceptions of Landscape: South Oxfordshire 500-1650.